A great piece over at Carolina Journal about potentially serious changes to the fishing regulations in NC. Commercial fishermen aren’t really happy about it.
RALEIGH — The General Assembly is moving forward with a proposal by the Coastal Conservation Association that would make red drum, spotted sea trout, and striped bass off-limits to commercial fisherman and thus, fisherman say, the majority of the public.
By designating the three species “game fish,” they only could be caught recreationally, by hook and line, making them unavailable to the 97 percent of North Carolinians who do not fish for themselves.
Commercial fishermen say these are not the first fish to be taken off the market and they won’t be the last. If the CCA has its way, they say, commercial fishing would cease to exist in North Carolina and in most of the United States.
And the Republican heading this effort up, Rep. Darrell McCormick, R-Yadkin, isn’t even from the coast. Sadly, the misguided belief that this will help the economy is akin to the arguments about building convention centers and using incentives from government to create jobs.
“The dock value of one red drum is about $1.50 a pound,” he said. “Its value to our state, as a recreational fish, is $300 a pound.”
McCormick derived that number by dividing the total amount an average vacationer spends on a fishing trip by the number of fish he is allowed to catch on that trip. He says North Carolina’s fish attract tourists from all over the country, especially the Northeast.
“Those guys come down and bring $2,000, $3,000, $6,000, and they stay for a week and go fishing,” McCormick said. “They go to the restaurants. They stay at the hotel. They buy a boat. They spend a few hundred bucks in the tackle shop. They buy bait. Then they go out one day with a guide or on a charter boat.”
So, if we restrict commercial fishermen from catching these fish, then hundreds of other individuals will flock to the coast, take up fishing and catch ‘em? ”Restrict it and they will come,” is a poor policy when it comes to fishing. Where do folks come up with such bizarre policy positions?
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